M A I N   N E W S

No bonus on wheat: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today categorically rejected the demand of Rs 50 as bonus on wheat. The demand was made by the Opposition leader, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Speaking to mediapersons here today, Capt Amarinder Singh said here today that roughly calculated on Rs 50 per quintal basis, the bonus amount would be about Rs 1,400 crore. The government did not have such a huge money to pay as bonus. Mr Badal, the Chief Minister, alleged that the Opposition leader as Chief Minister had made Rs 3,500 crore.

“Mr Badal should pay bonus from that amount of Rs 3,500 crore”, he said.

“Mr Badal is habitual of playing mischief and I do not care what he says. I do not read the statements made by Mr Badal in the media”, asserted Capt Amarinder Singh. He said Mr Badal's case would come up for hearing in the Supreme Court on April 20. “Mr Badal was running away from facing corruption cases registered against him”, he added.

It appeared that the Chief Minister was not hopeful of any increase in the minimum support price (MSP) by the Union Government. Asked in this connection, Capt Amarinder Singh, said already farmers were getting price of wheat more than that of MSP.

He said farmers would get adequate power during the paddy season. At present, harvesting season was on and power was not required to operate tubewells. However, the demand for power had gone up by 100 lakh units per day in the state at present, he added.

Asked about farmers suicides and rural indebtedness, Capt Amarinder Singh, said the Union Government's help was required to waive loans worth Rs 24,000 crore of farmers. “We could not do it alone as banks are under the control of the Union Government”, he said. He also did not give any firm assurance regarding the clearance of two pending installments of bonus on paddy announced long ago.

When asked what happened to the Bill which his Government was keen to get passed in the last Assembly session to give relief to farmers from loans, Capt Amarinder Singh, said there was no such Bill.

However, sources said the draft of Bill was ready and it was got vetted from legal experts. However, as the Bill was expected to harm the interest of commission agents, which have been traditionally supporting the Congress in elections, the proposal to pass the Bill was allegedly dropped. The draft of the Bill was kept top secret. Only four or five senior officers of the State Government, besides, Chief Minister, were aware about the draft of the Bill.

Talking about the acquiring of agriculture land for the Trident group near Barnala, Capt Amarinder Singh, said the land was required to set up industrial units there. He said as the investment of Rs 57,000 crore was being done in the state, land was required to set up manufacturing units.


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